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Dementia friendly refurbishment begins
26 June 2017

Work has begun on an extensive refurbishment project which will see two further wards at our hospital transformed to the highest dementia-friendly standards.

Work started on 28-bed Stradbroke Ward, which cares for gastroenterology patients, in late May. The project will see pictorial signs and colour-coded walls introduced to help patients find their way, bed areas decluttered, bathrooms and lighting improved and social areas and calming artwork added.

The Stradbroke Ward work is being funded with part of a £1.5m legacy left to the hospital by former patient Peter Gibbons, which has already paid for refurbishments on Washbrook and Woodbridge wards.

At the same time, patients and visitors are being warned to expect some noise as external work takes place to create a corridor leading straight from the Emergency Department to the assessment area on Brantham Ward. This will mean patients being transferred for assessment will no longer need to be moved through the ward area, which can disturb other patients.

The entrance for patients who arrive at Brantham Ward by ambulance after being referred by their GP will also be extended, with a porch added to reduce drafts. In addition, more space will be available for trolleys, while two clinic rooms where doctors can examine and assess will be created, as well as an improved ambulatory care area for patients who do not need a bed and are able to receive treatment in a chair.

Once work on Stradbroke Ward is complete later this summer, the remainder of Brantham Ward, which is the hospital’s Emergency Admissions Unit (EAU), will be given a dementia-friendly facelift with £800,000 from capital funds and the legacy.

Becky May, matron for medicine, said: “We are really pleased that work has begun to further improve the environment in which our patients receive care.

“Stradbroke is the sixth ward we have refurbished, and work will be carried out to the same high dementia-friendly standards which has been so appreciated by patients and relatives elsewhere in the hospital. Once work on the Brantham Ward is complete, it will be one of first dementia-friendly EAUs in the UK, which in turn will help to keep patients calm so that they can be discharged following their assessment wherever possible.

“Coming into hospital can be unsettling for people with dementia, which is why we try and do everything we can to help them feel as safe and as comfortable as possible. Making our wards easy for people to navigate is an important part of that and can make a really big difference to a patient’s admission.

“Unfortunately there will be some additional noise while external work takes place to Brantham Ward, and we would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. Our contractors will be taking steps to keep any disruption to a minimum.”